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Part 2...HOW TO - Make faux sea glass

Hulbert, OK(Zone 7a)

If you missed Part 1, just click here for a bit of 'archived' reading:

Hello, everyone! Glad you joined the thread!

Carrying on from our last thread, a few new folks joined, with KBJ
last discussing her son's school project.

Wuvie: I cannot thank you enough for your post on "faux sea glass". I am an avid sea glass collector and so is my 13 year old son. We have a home in NC and do a lot of searching when we can get there. My son has decided to do his 7th grade science project on "sea glass" and if "man can make what nature produces". He is going to use several different sands/abrasives and will be comparing what he produces versus what is produced in natural water areas. Your post gives vivid detail on how to do this. In fact, we got the rock tumbler at harbor freight last night! It's on the website for $19.99 but is in the store for $29.99 and they told me to bring in the online ad and they would refund me. Any other thoughts/posts on what other material to use to produce that totally frosted appearance? What about that silicone that I have seen? I love your idea about going to thrift stores/yard sales for "glass". Looking forward to sharing our progress, many thanks again.
PS: I LOVE that blue glass that you posted. It's simply beautiful.

I'll be back in just a moment to respond to this post, have to close the other thread. :-)

Thumbnail by WUVIE
Hulbert, OK(Zone 7a)

Cake for everyone!

Defoecat, Lizrainey, LouC, Brender, Denimangle, Lala_Jane,
Silverfluter, Sunny_1, UniQueTreasures, Wannadanc, Caro_uk,
Tetleytuna, and our latest member, KBJ. Please tell me I did not
miss anyone, I've got those 'in your forties' eyes now. Glasses, anyone?

Welcome, welcome! Hope you've all joined us again!

KBJ, let me first welcome you to the thread. What a fun school
project for your son! Glad you were able to get a partial refund
for the tumbler. At present, I'm using a series of Rolling Stones
brand tumblers, but hope to try the Harbor brand soon. We hope
you will keep us updated on your son's project. Wouldn't that be
fun to win an award for his project? Whoo hoo! An A+ is on the way!

The frosty appearance will inevitably happen, taking anywhere
from three to four days, but a full week will make them absolutely
smooth and frosty. Basic sand seems to work, but will get mushy
and create a muck of sorts. Hubby has often had to help get the
lids off due to this problem. A light application of Vaseline on the
inside of the lid and the outer lip of the barrel seems to alleviate
the problem of sticky lids, at least with regard to the Rolling Stones
brand of tumblers.

Today I hope to break up and begin tumbling yet another vase, which
is pictured on this thread It was beautiful, but tipped over by a pet, breaking
the tips of the vase off, which were scalloped and rounded. Very pretty.
The vase weighs a few ounces shy of FIVE pounds, so I can't wait to see
how the glass turns out.

Brender, the image on the beginning of this thread is the olive
colored saucer I was talking about on our last thread. The pieces
in the bottom right hand corner were the plate section, with bumps.
Very neat! The other pieces are from the edges, which were scalloped,
if you will. They are dying to be made pendants!


Thumbnail by WUVIE
Topsham, ME(Zone 5a)

Did someone mention cake?!!


Love the saucer! Thanks for the pic. Reminds me of a necklace I had in the 80s...probably still have it somewhere!

Going to try the vaseline on the stubborn HF tumbler lid to see if it is helps in removal. Hoping to finish my work up so I can have time reload the tumbler, but I can see it is going to be difficult to focus on work today with more ideas whirling about !

Can't wait to see the green vase.

Topsham, ME(Zone 5a)

And if anyone is lamenting the cost of a tumbler... a glass supply catalog I have sells 4.4lbs of "sea glass" for $29.95 plus S&H of course. So, if you have to justify the cost to yourself, or someone else, this would be a "pro" on the pro/con list.

Hulbert, OK(Zone 7a)

Oh, I agree!

For 20-30 bucks, I'm having a ball long term. I look at
it this way...when you order pizza, you spend the money,
eat the pizza and flush it away.


Oakwood (Butler,TX), TX(Zone 8b)

How are you buying from Harbor Freight.
When I go to the web page the best it will let me do is print a shopping list .. No way to buy anything ..they arn't even showing prices. Could someone post the link to the page that lets you buy on line ..It would save me a 200 mile trip

Columbia, MO(Zone 5b)

Here is a link that was on the first thread:

I went in to the HF store here and they were going to charge me the regular price until I printed the internet add off.

So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

Link doesn't work. Links cannot be copied and pasted... you have to go to the actual link and copy the URL, then post it.

Annville, PA

Cheryl: Go to and search for "rock tumbler". They will all be listed including the 3# tumbler I purchased. You should be able to click on "add to basket" and then "checkout". Let me know how you make out. We are headed to the thrift shop to seek out pink, lavendar, blue and red hues for the project. Thanks to all of you for the warm welcome and any advise you provide.

Oakwood (Butler,TX), TX(Zone 8b)

Thanks everyone .. the address I have off their paper is ... there are no prices on that page
thanks again

I love this place ... Yall just saved me sooo much money .. I ordered the double tumbler ...
$7.99 shipping & I didn't have to pay tax. I couldn't have paid for lunch with that Much less gas ...Hubby would have gone with me to Waco ... and im sure we would have found things we just couldn't live with out :-) & I always have to go to the craft stores & fabric shops ...
I feel like I got the tumbler for free

This message was edited Sep 14, 2007 3:10 PM

This message was edited Sep 14, 2007 3:13 PM

Topsham, ME(Zone 5a)

Try this:

The "usa" I think is for the store flyer. The above is the catalog site.

This should get you to the tumbler page:

This message was edited Sep 14, 2007 5:08 PM

Topsham, ME(Zone 5a)

How is that tumbled bottle coming along? Anxious to see!


Hulbert, OK(Zone 7a)

Mark my word. Harbor Freight will raise the prices on
the tumblers pretty quick. I remember when we all went out
to buy the tile saws from Lowe's, they raised the prices not
once but twice. I may have to bump a tumbler up in the budget,

Just a quick mention for anyone who may not know, often
times you need to copy and paste a very long URL which is
cut off because it is so long.

Just copy it, hop over to and give it a whirl.

:-) KM

So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

Thanks for the links... I think I may order a dual tumbler now even if I don't use it soon.

hayward, CA

can i have whipped cream on mine lol oh look at that glass i saw earrings and pendants in that pile good job again that green one looks tempting to.

Mayfield, KY(Zone 7b)

Ok. I am hooked as well. I don't know how I came across this thread in the first place but did and also a "tumbler". LOL. I bought a kids version of a tumbler at Hobby Lobby. I am only on day three so I can't wait to see the final process. I also ordered a double barrel one from Harbor Freight and haven't gotten it yet. It looks much better than the one I bought at Hobby Lobby.
My question is this. Where do you buy the loose sand. I know you can buy play sand at Lowes but does anyone know where to find a finer grade sand? The kit that came with my machine has four different grades of sand. The last one is for polishing and feels like baking soda. I noticed that Harbor Freight has sand but it seemed a little pricey to me. I would appreciate any suggestions. I will post before and after pictures when I am done.
Right now I am tumbling raw gemstones so I am very anxious to see the end result.
I love this thread.

Hulbert, OK(Zone 7a)

Hi Janet,

Most of us are merely tumbling glass chunks, which do not require
a fine grade of grit, but if you are tumbling the stones that came with
your kit, you will definitely need to use the various grits which each
step calls for, or you won't be pleased with your results. If you were
tumbling glass, you could follow the same steps, though I admit to
only having tried that once...thinking that eventually one may end up
with softened edges and a polished appearance.

I'm still playing around with the basics and haven't invested the time in
polishing the glass, just rounding and frosting it. :-) Rocks and gems
are another story.

One would need to tumble for a long time on such a fine grit sand, so
that is why many of us use common play sand; which is readily available
but turns to muck many times. Some use creek sand, which tends to be coarse,
but gets the job done quicker. I can't remember, but it seems someone even
mentioned using little bb-like things.

But again, these are things we've tried using glass. If I were tumbling gemstones
I would not toss common sand into the barrel, I would use the grit that came
with the kit. I'm not sure I'm making any sense, my brain is still sleeping. LOL.


Mayfield, KY(Zone 7b)

Thank you for all that information. I am excited waiting for the process to finish.

Gaylordsville, CT

Hi I just stumbled on this forum and am so excited. I have been thinking lately how I wanted to tumble broken glass, so this is heaven! Just curious, will a vibrator tumbler work as well? Since I am not familiar with tumbling and after reading the posts I see you add water, do you have to use water when you tumble glass? Ohhh thinking of all the blue glass I have collected over the years that I now want to break & start to tumble. What would be the largest size piece of glass you have been able to tumbled?

I see I have some homework to do before I can get started, im just so excited!

Thanks for being here!

Hulbert, OK(Zone 7a)

Hello Oceangal,

Welcome, welcome, welcome to the thread! Grab a chair,
a hammer and let's have fun, LOL!

With regard to vibratory tumblers, I do not have one, nor have
I ever used one, but hopefully someone will be along to chime
in with experience.

It is my understanding the vibratory tumblers
do not give the rounded shapes most of us seek when tumbling
glass. The rotarys, other than having O-ring slippage once in a while,
can be left unattended, while the vibratory require checking to make
certain water level remains consistent. The vibratory style are also,
for some, much noisier.

As for the water, yes, it is required, though I'm no expert. It just
seems the water is a necessary component to imitate the ground of
the ocean floor. If the glass tumbled naked with only grit, I think you
would end up just tumbling glass naked with grit. LOL.

At present, I have some pieces of glass tumbling which are as large as
1" x 2" thick. No doubt you could use larger pieces, as long as they allowed
movement of the piece and distribution of the sand / gravel / whatever
grit-like material you choose to use.

Again, I'm no expert, so I look forward to others chiming in.

:-) Karen Marie

P.S. Glad to see more interested in this fun hobby!

Thumbnail by WUVIE
Hulbert, OK(Zone 7a)

Just thought about something, wish I had mentioned it sooner in
our other thread.

For those ordering the tumblers from Harbor Freight, just a suggestion
to order one or two replacement belts when you order your tumblers.

It seems, according to internet opinion, the belts often break soon after purchase.
This could be due to the fact that many of these items are often stored in extreme

An example - hubby purchased a well pump years ago. It sat in our shed
waiting to be hooked up. When he finally hooked it up, it died soon afterwards,
due to the bad seals. Rubber and extreme heat, then extreme cold. Not good.

Just a thought for those ordering.

:-) KM

So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

KarenMarie, wish I had known that Friday when I ordered TWO dual tumblers. Could at least have saved on shipping. Wonder if an auto fan belt might be found to fit?

Hulbert, OK(Zone 7a)

Hi Darius,

My apologies, I wish I had mentioned it sooner. :-(

I'm not sure if one can find the replacement belts in the HF store,
but I'll look next time we go. I would not mind buying & sending them
to anyone who needs them. I'll bet they charge a fortune for shipping.
I would only charge the cost of the belt plus actual shipping.


So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

Thanks. Let me know, and meanwhile I will check around here for fan belts once my tumblers arrive.

Columbia, MO(Zone 5b)

I got two of the HF tumblers and have not used them yet, but each of mine came with an extra belt. Took me a few minutes to figure out what it was as the directions leave a little to be desired.

Long Beach, CA(Zone 10b)

Question for ya from a lurker! ;) (guess that I am out of the closet now)

What happens when you tumble those iridescent chandelier drops? (probably the ones I have are not actually lead crystal)

I don't know if the iridescence is a coating or is is coming from inside the drops and what will happen to the little holes?

Hulbert, OK(Zone 7a)

Hi Daisy,

If I had to guess, they would simply frost over, though they would
likely keep the basic shape with the faux diamond cuts for the most part.

Tetley, glad they came with an extra. Maybe the company received
word of the belt problem. Someone (go, bean counters!) must have
figured out it was cheaper for the company to include an extra belt
than face numerous returns.

:-) KM

Long Beach, CA(Zone 10b)

Thanks- I was wondering if they would look sort of like those glass iridescent eggs that appear to glow from inside that you see in the decorator shops these days- I will start a batch this week and let ya'll know.

(I already had the tumbler from when my now 13 year old turned 6 and Grandpa bought her one and this will be its Christening Voyage!)

So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

Most iridescence is an applied coating, hazardous to do. I'd guess the coating would come off in the tumbler.

Long Beach, CA(Zone 10b)

Hmmm- yeh- I was just checking out one of the drops really close up and it appears to be a press glass kind of Carnival glass coating.

Is Carnival glass coated? I just realized I don't even know!

Columbia, MO(Zone 5b)

If you look closely you can usually tell if glass has a painted coating. It will be slightly rough to the touch instead of slick like glass that has color all the way through. After it gets a little age on it the glass will also be slightly dull where it has been painted.

I started my tumbler just a couple of minutes ago! Broke up some heavy milk glass and green glass flower vases that had broken tops and part of a fairly thick broken window. Put in some water and some of the white sand I had left from something else. It is really quiet which surprised me, I was expecting loud grinding gears and lots of rattling. I guess I will see in a week if it works........... :^)

Oakwood (Butler,TX), TX(Zone 8b)

Boy someone must have been looking out for me I ordered an extra belt :-) .. Shipping is priced by how much you spend .. starting at $7.99 so a $3.00 belt would be $11.00 YIKES ...

Olympia, WA

It just so happens that I got too impatient waiting for my HF tumbler that I ordered online, so I ran a copy of the online ad and went to HF and bought another one there. YES - they DO honor the online price - and thus it is cheaper when one isn't paying any freight - even though I do have to pay sales tax.

The man who sold it to me said to know that they DO carry the belts as well as the various grits. That answers the question asked - so not to worry, as long as you DO have a HF closeby.

Annville, PA

Not sure if this will help regarding the grit, but here goes on our current science project. We are now on day 2 of tumbling. I did purchase the grit at HF, however, it was expensive and had 2 items which I would not use. I went to Michaels and found "gravel" near the dollhouse/miniature dept. I used 2T of the gravel and 2T of the coarse grit from HF.

When we "burped" it yesterday, it was mucky, mucky, gross. However, we pulled one piece of glass and cleaned it off, and it was already rounded and well on its way to being the glass we so seek. So, the "gravel" might be a much cheaper option. I added water as per the instructions in the HF "manual" and we will check it later today. I could not believe my eyes when I say how much change had occurred in just 24 hours.

We found the MOST beautiful colors of glass at the thrift store. I will soon post it on the site for you to see. I found a lovely pink glass for $1.00 and told the sales person what I was going to do. She told me she would not break that glass since it was depression glass. I bought the other lonely glass and now have 2 new drinking glasses in my cupboard. They are the prettiest color! I will keep you posted on our progess and any hints we might learn along the way. I really appreciate all of the posts, they are extremely helpful.

Hulbert, OK(Zone 7a)


Glad to hear the updates, sounds as if everything is going well. :-)

On the note of the sales person's comment on the glass? There
is a thrift store locally. After buying much glass and such, the clerk
asked what I was doing with all of it. When I told her, she gasped.
The next time I checked into the store, she mentioned some beautiful
glass that she would not set out to sell because she knew what I
was going to do with it.

She said the same thing about silverware I planned to hammer
into wind chimes.

How neat that you were able to find two of the same glasses.
I'll admit, I would not hesitate to break depression glass at all, at
least singles or oddball pieces.

One of my favorite quotes is "It's only worth what someone is willing to pay for it."
This is the fun part about tumbling. It is worth more to me sentimentally
than financially. The fun I have tumbling and the "Oooh" feeling when
the barrel is opened, is worth much more than something I can buy in any
antique store.

Most of the 'true' depression glass has been swooped up by collectors,
leaving the mock versions and glass produced later in the stores, unbeknwownst
to many customers who may not know what they are buying . Examples would
include Tiara and Federal.

A few months ago I purchased a stack of Federal Madrid blue bowls with square
rims, round dishes. They are very nice dishes, but after I tested one in the tumbler,
I just knew the rest were due for a smashing. LOL. If you look them up on
Ebay, you will see they are 'worth' about ten bucks a bowl. Alas, it is often hard
to determine, at least for the common Joe like myself, whether you have true
depression or a remake.

Just rambling at this point, LOL.

near cardiff, United Kingdom

Happy birthday brender, hope you had a great time.sorry for not being here for sometime have been very busy,my glass is done looks ok ,will sort out a pic later on today and get it posted on here. just made a mirror mosaic blue tiles and smashed up teaset, will get a pic up soon so you can all seee,well im off get a little sleep as its gone 3am.see you all soon.

Hulbert, OK(Zone 7a)

Hi Caro,

Take care, get some rest, hope you'll have a nice night. Come
back tomorrow and share.

:-) KM

near cardiff, United Kingdom

Hi everyone,well heres a pic of my mosaic mirror,will put pic of my glass on here so proud of my mirror lol.

Thumbnail by caro_uk
near cardiff, United Kingdom

Heres a pic of my glass ,what do you all think?

Thumbnail by caro_uk
Oakwood (Butler,TX), TX(Zone 8b)

Great job on the mirror,
I really like the look of the glass.
Sitting here wondering what it would look like fused into a bowl ...
Wish my tumbler would get here :-)

This message was edited Sep 19, 2007 5:43 AM

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